When someone driving a car hits someone on a bicycle, the bicycle crash can be devastating. This is especially true when the bicyclist is a child. In 2014, there were over 1,700 accidents involving a vehicle and a bicycle in Arizona alone. Over 1,450 of these resulted in injuries and 28 resulted in fatalities.
Avoiding a bicycle crash takes effort from the driver and the bicyclist. Ensuring that drivers are educated on safe driving and that children are educated on how to bicycle safely are both vital.
Driver Responsibility Around Children
If your child is injured in a bicycle crash, it’s possible that the driver wasn’t acting responsibly as they were driving in your neighborhood or park. If there was negligence on the part of the driver, then they may be liable for damages.
When children are present in an area, the amount of care, alertness, and caution that a driver gives is expected to increase. Drivers should expect that a child may run into the street, or that a ball or bicycle might unexpectedly cross their path. Many neighborhoods have warning signs alerting drivers that children play in the area, and parks and schools are common places where children play. As a result, drivers are expected to exercise additional care when they drive.
This doesn’t mean that a driver is automatically at fault when a bicycle crash occurs. If the driver exercises extreme care, but the accident still occurs, it may be hard to prove negligence.
Teaching Your Children to Avoid a Bicycle Crash
Ensuring your children are aware of bicycle safety rules will not only help them avoid bicycle crashes, but will also help them minimize injuries if they are in an accident or fall off their bike. Here are some important elements of safety that will help your children avoid a bicycle crash.
- Proper Equipment. It’s important to ensure that your children are wearing safety equipment when riding their bikes. Depending on age and ability, this includes a helmet along with elbow pads or kneepads. In addition, tires should be properly inflated on the bicycle, and it should be adjusted to the height that best fits the rider.
- It’s important to not only pay attention to your surroundings as a cyclist, but also to be purposely visible, especially on cloudy days or after sunset. Wearing white does not improve visibility. However, wearing neon or fluorescent colors does make a difference, as does having a flashing light on the bicycle. Visibility is important at all times of day – not just at night.
- Watch for Road Hazards. Construction, broken glass, and other hazards can cause bicycle accidents on their own, and drivers trying to avoid these hazards are at a higher risk of hitting a cyclist. Make sure your children know to watch for road hazards and stay away from them when riding their bikes.
- Avoid Reckless Bicycling. Children love thrills, and often don’t know the full risks they are taking when they perform tricks, participate in high-speed races or other reckless bicycling behaviors. It’s important that you educate your child about the dangers of these types of activities so they understand the seriousness of what could happen. Reckless bicycling can result in losing control of a bicycle and getting in a crash with a car or other object.
If your child is in a bicycle crash, the first thing to do is call 911 and make sure that your child receives necessary medical attention. Your first priority is always making sure that your child’s health and welfare are attended to. Once they are taken care of, you’ll want to make sure their rights are taken care of as well. I’m here to help. Call me at 602-212-0202 to set up a consultation today.